Posts Tagged ‘english bitter’

Brains SA (385 of 1001)

Rating: 3.1

My third Brains beer now, this one follows on from their SA Gold that I tried way back in 2012 after grabbing a bottle in Newcastle and thinking it was the regular Brains SA from the 1001 beers list that I’m reviewing now; the other beer was a bottle of Barry Island IPA that I picked up from Tesco a few years ago now. This one will be my 379th from the 1001 beers list and my first of seven Welsh beers on the list, beers that have proved quite difficult to find anywhere I’ve been so far and I can see it taking a trip to Wales at some point to actually check a few more of them off.

Appearance (4/5): After an aggressive pour this one sits a caramel amber colour and is topped with a half centimetre, foamy white head that starts turning patchy in the middle after thirty seconds or so with a little more build up around this sides.
Aroma (5/10): Quite earthy and bitter in the early going with some biscuit malts and a few nutty notes as well. It’s not overly pronounced but some caramel and butterscotch sweetness a little further on before some bread malts see things out.
Taste (6/10): Similar to the nose with some caramel malts and a background sweetness coming through, the beer was earthy with some hops and the odd touch of biscuit in the early going. The nutty notes from the nose aren’t as pronounced here but there is some bread malts and butterscotch as well with hints of citrus rounding things off, although it was relatively subdued throughout.
Palate (3/5): Somewhere around medium bodied and quite crisp, the beer is smooth and semi-sweet thanks to the caramel malts and butterscotch. It’s relatively well-balanced and moderately carbonated with a sharp tangy feel from the citrus around the middle. It’s earthy throughout and definitely basic but it was easy enough to drink and probably quite sessionable too.

Overall (12/20): Basic stuff but drinkable through, the beer was quite earthy with a combination of bread and biscuit malts along with the odd nutty flavours dominating for the most part, there was some caramel sweetness and touches of butterscotch though. It’s not a beer that I went into with high hopes but it was decent enough and much as I’d expect from the style too, a solid English style bitter that was easy to drink an inoffensive.

Brewed In: Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Brewery: SA Brain & Company Ltd.
First Brewed: 1958
Type: English Bitter
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Tesco (Enniskillen)
Price: £1.70


Windsor Knot

June 19, 2018 1 comment

Rating: 2.75

A beer I was recently given as a gift from a family member returning from Windsor, this one is a beer that I probably wouldn’t have picked up myself but is one originally introduced as a limited release beer for the 2011 royal wedding of William & Kate before becoming a regular, year-round release after proving popular. The bottle I’ve been given has an updated label design as a result of the royal wedding of Harry & Meghan earlier this year and their names are one the front of the label too. The beer will be my first from Windsor & Eton but I was also given another of their beers alongside this one so expect a review of their Knights of the Garter blonde ale in the not too distant future.

Appearance (3/5): A clear looking caramel amber that’s topped with a thin surface lacing on top that’s white with a touch more build up around the circumference of the glass.
Aroma (6/10): Opening with some biscuit malts and a very faint sweetness from touches of bread and earthy malts. Towards the middle some faint fruit notes make an appearance with a floral backing and some apple before a nutty aroma sees things out.
Taste (5/10): Carrying on where the nose left off with some biscuit malts and earthy touches kicking things off, there was a few subtle hops showing alongside a fairly floral middle. I got some bread malts and a hint of nutty bitterness nearer the end but it was quite a basic one overall.
Palate (3/5): Quite light bodied and perhaps a touch thin at times, the beer was floral to start but got steadily more bitter as things moved on. There was a dryness towards the end of what was a light to moderately carbonated beer and further bitterness with the aftertaste as well.

Overall (9/20): It not all that often that I get to try a new English bitter and to be honest this one has just reminded me why, it’s definitely a basic offering with very little going on but it was still drinkable throughout thankfully. It’s not so much that it’s a bad beer but it wasn’t all that interesting either with only some biscuit malts and a bitter, nutty finish grabbing your attention’ I can’t imagine this one is a beer that I’d have again sadly.

Brewed In: Windsor, Berkshire, England
Brewery: Windsor & Eton
First Brewed: 2011
Type: English Bitter
Abv: 4.5%
Serving: Bottle (330ml)
Purchased: Windsor, England
Price: Gift

Marston’s Resolution

January 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Rating: 1.8

Another beer that I sampled over the Christmas holidays now and what I think was my eighth Marston’s offering although I’ve not had anything new from the brewery in a while so I can’t be too sure. This one is a beer that was originally introduced sometime around the 1960’s and went by the Low C name to indicate that it was a low carbs offering from the brewery. In early 2004 the beer was re-branded under its current Resolution name and is a beer that I received as a Christmas gift as part of a gift pack that contained a few other beers that I’d already tried, including bottles of Hobgoblin and Spitfire but this was the only one I hadn’t already sampled previously. The beer came in quite a small, 275ml bottle which ended up being a blessing but here’s what I thought of it when I tried it at the very start of this year.


Appearance (3/5): A light copper to amber colour with a very clear body and a centimetre tall, foamy white head on top that holds relatively well. There was no signs of any visible carbonation with the beer and it looked quite still in the glass with the head eventually starting to turn patchy after a minute or so as well.
Aroma (4/10): Some subtle spice and grassy hops kick things off here, the beer turned out to be quite a light one on the nose with only a few touches of hay and some basic malts coming through in the early going. There is the odd adjunct sitting around the middle with a background sweetness and bread malts following on behind before some skunky notes see things out.
Taste (3/10): This one is almost like a lager initially with some corn and basic adjuncts featuring alongside some basic malt bitterness and the odd skunky vegetable flavour. There was a subtle spice around the middle and the odd bit of sweetness too but nothing concrete really. Towards the end some skunky bitterness and what can only be described as a musky taste started to come through but this wasn’t a pleasant tasting beer at all really.
Palate (1/5): Quite a light, weak and almost watery beer on the whole, this one was definitely a disappointment from the start with very little in the way of complexity or even flavour to it. There was a lot of carbonation to this one that made it seem lively but also a little over carbonated at times, bordering on gassy. There seemed to be a lot of adjuncts and the beer ended up with quite a skunky, off feel to it that wasn’t enjoyable at all.

Overall (6/20): Really poor stuff from Marston’s here and probably one of the worst from the brewery that I can remember trying; not an enjoyable beer at all. There was a weak, quite bland feel to proceedings and the taste was definitely lacking, I got some early adjuncts and the odd lager taste but none of this was enough to distract from the skunk bitterness or the cheap feel of the beer; definitely not one to seek out.

Brewed In: Burton-on-Trent, England
Brewery: Marston, Thompson & Evershed, Plc.
First Brewed: circa. 1960’s (rebranded in 2004)
Original Name: Marston’s Low C
Type: Bitter
Abv: 4.7%
Serving: Bottle (275ml)
Purchased: North of Ireland
Price: Gift

Jeffrey Hudson Bitter (326 of 1001)

March 7, 2016 1 comment

Rating: 3.8

A beer that I’ve been on the lookout for recently and one that I actually spotted an earlier this year in a B&M Bargains store only to be put off buying it by the fact is was well past its freshness date and I wanted to give it a fair review. Luckily I was able to find a bottle in the Drygate bottleshop in Glasgow a few weeks ago and quickly grabbed a bottle. The beer is a regular cask offering from Oakham Ales and will be my third from the brewery, following on from their excellent Citra American pale ale and their fairly average Inferno golden ale, the later of which I reviewed here back in May of last year. Named after a Mr. Jeffrey Hudson, a royal courtier of King Charles I in the 17th century, the beer is another dry-hopped offering from Oakham and has been crowned Champion Beer of Britain in the bitter category twice, back in 1999 and again two years later in 2001 so I’m expecting it to be a good one for what will be the 326th beer from the 1001 list that I’ll have tried.

Jeffrey Hudson Bitter

Appearance (4/5): Pouring a very light and clear golden colour, this one has a few fine bubbles rising to the surface and is topped with a thin, white head that is a foamy and just about covers the surface of the beer with more of a build up to the one side. Retention is okay with the head eventually turning patchy and leaving some traces in the centre of the glass but it falls short of disappearing completely.
Aroma (7/10): Quite a fresh nose with some floral touches and a nice citrus backing plus plenty of pale malts to open things up with. The beer had some bread and cereal coming through which also added a moderate sweetness with some lemon not far behind. There was a few more hops coming through than I’d anticipated and the nose was all the better for it with the odd burst of fruit and some hints of bitterness towards the end as well; nice stuff.
Taste (8/10): Starting off in a similar vein to the nose, this one opens up with some citrus and lemon flavours along with a solid amount of pale malts and to a lesser extent some floral flavours, the bread malts are present here too. Around the middle I got some hints of tropical fruits with an earthy bitterness and biscuit malts not far behind before some musty touches come through towards the end. The beer was zesty and feature some nice but subdued hops, hay and grassy flavours as well as a further hit of citrus and some herbal flavours right at the end.
Palate (4/5): This one came through very fresh and zesty with moderate carbonation levels and a light-medium body as well as touches of sweetness, particularly with the nose. The beer was crisp and well-balanced with a lively feel and a moderate bitterness too; excellent stuff.

Overall (14/20): Very nice stuff from Oakham Ales here, this one was well-balanced and fresh with some good floral flavours and was exactly what you’d expect from a good golden ale. The beer was an easy one to drink with some good pale malts and bread to kick things off alongside a pleasant citrus zest and nice bitterness; it’s definitely one of the better beers of the style that I’ve tried of late and one that I wouldn’t object to having again at some point either; although it’s probably not quite as good as the breweries Citra pale ale offering but it’s not too far off it either.

Brewed In: Peterborough, England
Brewery: Oakham Ales / The Brewery Tap
First Brewed: 1993
Also Known As: Oakham JHB
Type: Golden/Blond Ale
Abv: 4.2%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Drygate (Glasgow)
Price: £3.60

Hatherwood Ruby Rooster

November 19, 2015 Leave a comment

Rating: 3.35

Another beer received as a gift for my birthday now, this one will be my second beer to fall under the ‘Hatherwood’ banner from the Wychwood brewery and following on from their Golden Goose bitter, it is another that is contract brewed by them for Lidl supermarkets in the UK. After reviewing a bottle of Hatherwood Golden Goose recently and being particularly blown away by the beer I’m not really expecting a lot from this one and if it proves be another drinkable, standard bitter then I guess I’ll consider it a success but you never known, it might even surprise me.

Hatherwood Ruby Rooster

Appearance (4/5): Ruby to deep amber coloured with a slightly cloudy body and a half centimetre head that is foamy and light tan coloured, covering the entire surface of the beer but eventually starting to thin out around the edges.
Aroma (6/10): Sweet with some roasted malts and caramel coming through early on, there is some sugars too and quite a strong toffee aroma to this one. I could detect some nutty aromas and a little bread with some biscuit malts towards the end.
Taste (7/10): Quite a nutty tasting beer with lots of sweetness early on, most notably a toffee taste but there was also some caramel coming through as well. This one was very earthy on the tastebuds with some pale and roasted malts around the middle before the bitterness began to assert itself towards the end. It was definitely a basic tasting beer but it seemed to be put together well and wasn’t a bad tasting one.
Palate (3/5): Smooth and featuring a medium body with light carbonation, this one was quite easy and sessionable to drink with some nice sweetness and moderate bitterness coming through alongside some pleasantly earthy touches; basic but enjoyable with a pleasant balance.

Overall (13/20): There was a good amount of sweetness coming through on top of some earthy and nutty flavours with the beer going down easily. Despite not being a huge fan of bitters in general, this one was a highly enjoyable offering consider it is a beer contract brewed for a budget supermarket.

Brewed In: Witney, England
Brewery: Wychwood Brewery
First Brewed: 2013
Full Name: Lidl Hatherwood Ruby Rooster
Type: English Bitter
Abv: 3.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Lidl
Price: Gift

Hatherwood Golden Goose

November 11, 2015 1 comment

Rating: 3.0

A new beer for me from the Wychwood Brewery now and one that they brew especially for Lidl supermarkets in the UK, this is a bottle I received as a gift recently and will amazingly be the first English bitter that I will have reviewed since I tried a bottle of Yule Love It! from Thwaites brewery at the end of January; and I don’t even recall trying any others between then and now if I’m honest. The style used to be one that I regularly picked up, mainly because bitters are usually easy to find and cheap here but it is a style that I’ve avoided of late. Despite it still being one of the top ten most rated styles for me, I tend to opt for more hoppy offerings than traditional ones these days but I’m hoping this one will take me back and that it is one that I can enjoy since I have another from the same brewery to try after this one.

Hatherwood Golden Goose

Appearance (3/5): This bottle pours quite a light copper colour with a very clear body and is topped with a thin, half centimetre tall head that is white and foamy looking, managing to cover the surface of the beer for the first minute of so before turning patchy.
Aroma (6/10): Slightly boozy on the nose as the beer was being poured, there is an abundance of English style hops with fuggle and golding both present and bring some light sweetness with them. There was a biscuit malt aroma and some bread with a few earthy notes and pale malts present as well without it being a particularly strong one on the nose.
Taste (6/10): Quite similar to the nose with some boozy flavours sneaking through early on despite being quite a light, 3.8% beer. There was some earth hops and a few biscuit flavours before some background caramel sweetness make itself known. I could detect some bread and doughy flavours with touches of pale malts backing it up along with the odd touch of grass; again the flavours weren’t the strongest but they weren’t particularly weak either thankfully.
Palate (3/5): Quite an earthy and, as I’ve mentioned already, boozy beer on the palate with some grains showing and a fair amount of bitterness as well, although that was to be expected given the style of the beer. The beer was a medium bodied one that seemed well carbonated for the style, it was perhaps a little overdone even. There was a nice amount of flavour coming through at least though and the balance seemed good as well.

Overall (12/20): This one wasn’t too bad an effort for what it was, a basic English style bitter that is a style I’ve gone off a lot lately and one  that I hardly ever pick up if I’m honest. There was a nice combination of pale and earthy malts mixed with some English style, traditional hops and touches of sweetness but there wasn’t much to set the beer alight and get me interested. Overall the beer was an easy one to drink, especially given the low alcohol content but there did seem to be boozy elements to it which weren’t great to be honest; drinkable but not one to look out for.

Brewed In: Witney, England
Brewery: Wychwood Brewery
First Brewed: Brewery since 1983
Full Name: Lidl Hatherwood Golden Goose
Type: English Bitter
Abv: 3.8%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Lidl
Price: Gift

Unmistakably Bill’s

Rating: 3.65

This one is a beer that I’ve seen a lot of people picking up recently and that was a big part of the reason I grabbed a bottle when I spotted it in an Aldi supermarket recently, I was also happy to get one as it’s a new Caledonian brewery beer for me and will be my fourteenth beer from the brewery thus far. The beer takes its name from ex-rugby legend and commentator Bill McLaren, also known as ‘the voice of rugby’ who passed away back in 2010. I believe this beer was first introduced in 2014, a few years after Bill’s death but for one reason or another it seems to be a lot more readily available in recent months. Hopefully everyone is onto something with this one and it’s a good offering from Caledonian, I’ll soon find out either way though.

Unmistakably Bill's

Appearance (4/5): Light copper in colour and with quite a clear body, the beer is topped with a centimetre and a half tall head that is foamy white in colour and holds well over the opening couple of minutes whilst leaving a little lacing on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma (7/10): This one starts with some strong malts and a toffee aroma that has some biscuit in there too before some touches of coffee made themselves known which was surprising. The beer was quite bitter on the nose with some touches of sweetness around the middle; most notably some butterscotch.
Taste (7/10): Starting with some caramel malts and a little toffee, the beer is fairly sweet with a little butterscotch and sugar that make an appearance soon after. There is a few touches of fruit around the middle and a slightly nutty taste that has some roasted malts towards the end as well.
Palate (4/5): Medium bodied and sweeter than expected, the beer is a nutty one with some nice bitterness in there too. The beer is moderately carbonated with touches of dryness right at the end and a slightly creamy feel to it.

Overall (13/20): Not a bad example of the style at all, this one was quite enjoyable and well-balanced beer that went down a lot easier than I thought it would without truly excelling in any noticeable way. There was a fairly nice variety of flavour and I liked the touches of caramel sweetness dotted throughout, they seemed to work well with the bitterness and the beer proved an easy one to finish.

Brewed In: Edinburgh, Scotland
Brewery: Caledonian Brewing Company
First Brewed: 2014
Also Known As: Caledonian Bill’s
Type: English Pale Ale
Abv: 4.6%
Serving: Bottle (500ml)
Purchased: Aldi (Cardonald)
Price: £1.49